Tuesday, June 19, 2018
The Incredibles 2
Dir. Brad Bird
In 2004, when The Incredibles was released, we were just at the beginning of the superhero movie tidal wave - with only Spider-Man 2 also hitting it big that year. We're now in a completely different cinema landscape, one where superhero movies seemingly come out every week (Marvel alone has FIVE properties being adapted in 2018), which means that Incredibles 2 has a much more difficult job to set itself out from the rest of the pack. The way in which Brad Bird accomplished this was by making his heroes not gods fighting for the fate of the universe - but instead a typical nuclear family concerned about paying bills, getting homework done, and trying to keep the baby in its crib. The juxtaposition of the mundane and the fantastic is what makes The Incredibles 2 so hilarious and relatable. It's by far the best superhero movie this year!
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Dir. Gary Ross
Heists are almost inherently cinematic. You get to watch a group of criminals play against the rules and plan an elaborate scheme in which there's a high probably of being caught. There are obviously a lot of stakes involved, and usually the more creative the plan and its execution, the more fun there is to be had. Steven Soderbergh understood this with his rat pack remake Ocean's Eleven, but this gender-swapped sequel, despite featuring a great, star-studded cast, misses the mark when it comes to the heist itself, which is as bland and rote as a plain donut with nothing on it.
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Dir. Tim Kirkby
Since the inception of the MTV show Jackass in the early 2000s, Johnny Knoxville and his team of "stuntmen" have come under fire for encouraging dangerous behavior. I always felt, as a fan of the show and films, that the Jackass crew never promoted their own behavior, they simply put themselves on display like human crash test dummies. However, at this point, as the guys get older, these reckless stunts have started to lose their charm. Action Point seems like a desperate attempt by an aging Knoxville to hold onto his youth - which in this case comes in the form of excessive, 80's-style binge-drinking and point blank shots to the groin.
Monday, May 28, 2018
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Dir. Ron Howard
Star Wars movies used to be major cultural events. With long gaps between the films' release dates, the hype was strong with this franchise - the 16 years between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace, and the 10 years between Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens, gave fans the chance to speculate and mouth-froth for a good chunk of the calendar. Now, risking quantity over quality as well as audience hype, Disney plans to release a new Star Wars film once a year, and it remains to be seen if this decision to oversatiate people's willingness to see yet more lightsaber duels, "pew pew pew"-ing, and nostalgic references to past films will continue to thrive. It's concerning to see that this is the state of the modern blockbuster, but at least Solo: A Star Wars Story is a ton of fun!
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Dir. David Leitch
The first Deadpool movie came as a subversive revelation for the superhero genre - from the opening credits it brought a biting, self-referential humor into the mix, with a witty script and hilarious performances that combined the pop culture-obsessed raunchiness of Family Guy with hyper-violent, R-rated action previously unseen in any Marvel movie. Fox took a risk and it paid off big-time, meaning a sequel was inevitable. But while Deadpool 2 has its moments, it fails to recapture that same "lightning-in-a-bottle" punk rock energy as its predecessor.
Saturday, May 5, 2018
Avengers: Infinity War
Dir. Anthony & Joe Russo
NOTE: Minor spoilers ahead, so if you want to know nothing, you may want to skip this review!
The epic crossover movie to end all epic crossover movies, Avengers: Infinity War was inspired by one of the biggest crossover series in comics, 1991's The Infinity Gauntlet. Much like its source material, the film features dozens of Marvel characters, most set up in the preceding 18(!) films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and brings them together to fight the hulking, purple-headed alien conqueror Thanos, who literally wants to kill half of all the beings in the universe in order to save resources (how eco-friendly of him!). He'll have the power to do it if he finds all the infinity stones for his gauntlet, so practically every single Marvel superhero - from Earth-bound characters like Iron Man, to the space-traversing Guardians of the Galaxy - must come together to stop Thanos and his minions from enacting his sinister plan. It's a total comic book story, for better or worse.
Monday, April 23, 2018
Summer is starting a little early this year - at least when it comes to the annual Summer box office game! This is my sixth year predicting what movies will make the top ten highest-earners, and it never really gets easier. But that unpredictability is what makes it so fun! If you want to play along, read the rules below and leave your predictions in the comments!